Judging Books by their Covers

So I love my Kindle. I do. It comes with me everywhere without weighing me down. At the moment, I can haul around an entire copy of Ulysses, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Trainspotting, The Lord of the Flies and about 20 more novels without my poor aul shoulders feeling the slightest pressure. Much and all as I love the convenience of my Kindle, there is something I miss about the real life book.

Its cover.

I do judge books by their covers. I love it when a cover really says something about the style of the book like this epic cover of the Gabler edition of Ulysses, which just says ‘this is an important book’.

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In contrast there’s endless other covers of Ulysses, including one of the latest editions by Sam Slote, which is really cool looking, and definitely softens the ‘epic’  and ‘monstrous’ look of its Gabler predecessor, as well as hinting at the time element to the novel (all within one day and recounting various times in each episode):

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I went on a wee bit of a hunt today in Hodges and found these gems:

Dubliners – Penguin Essentials, this reminds me of the artwork for the Great Gatsby at the moment:

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In comparison to this edition I have (looks more like a Charles Dickens novel):

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Vintage Yeats (cover illustration by Carolina Melis) – you can’t really see the detail on this but it does look like embroidery close up:

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And a sexy collection of Beckett plays designed by A2/SW/HK for Faber and Faber

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Within authors and genres, there’s a variance of style. Yeats has an appreciation for the softer, more traditional arts while Beckett is a bit more daring, and obviously minimalist. It’s great to see this combination of art subgenres to produce a sort of hybrid piece of art that’s a design piece ‘covering’ a literary piece. It’s definitely the way forward for publishing.

Newspapers are becoming more pretty, as are novels. There’s a lot of competition on those bookshop shelves and the more interesting and attractive a novel looks, the more likely the customer is to pick it up. It’s the one thing the ‘real life’ novel can hold on to.

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